What Is the Young Person Guarantee?
I was asked to take on this challenge due to the work I did on the Edinburgh Guarantee. In 2010 the definition of the Edinburgh Guarantee was simple; we would guarantee every young person in Edinburgh aged between 16 and 25, who was not in a ‘positive destination’, a minimum of 6 months’ work experience. In many ways that was not particularly ambitious, however, there was no money invested other than what companies did to provide the work experience.
The Young Person Guarantee will be the umbrella that sits above ALL programmes for young people, it is the single portal and brand, the simple journey for young people regardless of their circumstances when aged between 16 and 24. It is vital the Young Person Guarantee is not viewed as ‘yet another new initiative’ being added to a long list of other employability initiatives. There needs to be a long- term commitment to the Guarantee if it is to fundamentally change the employability landscape for our young people and deliver a more fair and inclusive economy for all. Gaining cross party support for the Guarantee has been a priority since the beginning, and I am currently engaging with all the opposition parties on this. I would also add that while the specific brief for this work was our young people, I strongly believe the ambition and many of the principles could also apply to other groups in Scotland whose employment prospects have materially been impacted due to Covid.
While there are many successful programmes and initiatives in employability, there is a recognition that the current landscape is complex, inefficient and confusing to young people and employers. In meetings with all stakeholders this has been heavily reinforced. That said we/I cannot start from a blank sheet of paper given what we are facing in to. We should continue the reform work already underway and we need action now. However, I am pointing out the issues with the current landscape and areas that need improved, changed or removed in order to make the Guarantee sustainable.
To define the ‘What’ we need to consider it in the context of 4 destinations albeit not mutually exclusive as people could move between them. They are:
1. School, College, University or a combination.
2. Apprenticeship - covering FA, MA and GA
3. Employment - either direct or indirect through the support of the third sector, this also includes work experience.
4. Volunteering, training or supported activity (it is important the DWP accepts that volunteering, training or supported activity helps young people find work, and their benefits should not be affected).